The Short List: a trio of unforgettable dads
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Can anyone beat Gregory Peck in the movie version of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”? A gentle, devoted dad, who is also a crusader for justice? Total package.
Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic
‘The Great Santini’
I hit the lottery when it comes to fathers, (love you, Daddy!) but Pat Conroy wasn’t so lucky.
His 1976 novel, “The Great Santini,” (later made into a movie starring Robert Duvall), focuses on the steel fist of one Marine Lt. Col. Wilbur “Bull” Meecham. He’s a hard-nosed, crew-cut, semi-sadistic warrior without a war — so he picks one with the people he loves the most.
So if you’ve got mixed feelings about your father, remember there are others who are far from Great. And if you take him out to shoot some hoops, let the man win. If only because it’s Father’s Day.
Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times columnist
‘The Mosquito Coast’
In Paul Theroux’s 1982 masterpiece, hyper-individualist Allie Fox whisks his family off to Central America where, supposedly, they’ll create their own self-sufficient utopia. Needless to say, things don’t work out as intended, as his increasingly skeptical teenage son Charlie (the book’s narrator) begins to realize. But what a ride the cranky, delusional, continually chattering Fox takes you on! In this tale, Theroux creates one of the most memorable problem-fathers in all of American fiction.
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer